The U.S. Senate voted to reject the much-publicized Green New Deal (GND) resolution, authored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), which would have aimed for the imposition of 100 percent renewable energy nationwide and a long wish list of other socialist policies in multiple areas of life.
More than 100 Democrat or Independent members of the U.S. House and Senate cosponsored or publicly embraced the GND, including Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kristen Gillibrand (R-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)—almost every senator currently vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Yet when Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) brought GND up for a vote in the Senate on March 26, not one senator voted in favor of the bill. Even its authors and cosponsors voted “present” rather than yes.
Dire Threats, Big Plans
The GND was a comprehensive bill intended to avert a purported human-caused climate change catastrophe through a complete, forced makeover of the nation’s housing stock and energy and transportation systems.
The resolution claimed “climate change constitutes a direct threat to the national security of the United States” and demanded a “national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal.”
GND’s “10-year national mobilization” would use entirely “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” throughout the United States. The plan also calls for upgrading “all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability” and overhaul “transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.”
In addition to its climate and energy provisions, the resolution set goals of “providing all people of the United States with: (i) high-quality health care; (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing; (iii) economic security; and (iv) clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and access to nature.”
‘Environmentally Toxic Extremist Policies’
The GND is an extreme form of socialism and would be a disaster for the U.S. economy and national security, says Justin Haskins, a research fellow with The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News.
“GND’s economically destructive and environmentally toxic extremist policies, including the elimination of virtually all fossil fuels from U.S. electricity generation and transportation within 10 years, would be an utter disaster for our country and the American people,” Haskins said. “GND would transform gigantic sectors of the U.S. economy—energy, health care, college education, and potentially more—into huge socialist, government-run or -managed programs controlled by an army of bureaucrats in Washington.
“The Green New Deal isn’t just socialism run amok, it’s crazy, posing a direct threat to our national security and economic well-being,” Haskins said.
Sponsors Requested Hearings
When McConnell announced he would allow an up-or-down vote on GND, its sponsors took the extremely rare, if not unprecedented, step of asking their bill not be brought up for a vote. Instead, they requested McConnell schedule hearings on the bill.
Because senators often wait years for a vote on legislation they sponsor, having to introduce it in multiple sessions of Congress only to have their bills blocked by a filibuster or defeated in committee, McConnell expressed incredulity at the request and the bill itself.
“I have to say, it’s remarkable enough to see a major political party coalesce around a proposal to forcibly remake the entire country according to what’s fashionable in Brooklyn and San Francisco,” McConnell said before the vote took place. “But it is even more stunning to see my colleagues so angry and upset at the opportunity to back up their new philosophy with their votes.”
GND’s Democrat supporters were playing a political game with the resolution and they lost, says Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
“Senate Democrats called the vote on the Green New Deal a ‘sham,'” Lewis said. “If, instead of bringing it up for a vote, McConnell had announced he would never allow a vote on the resolution, it’s highly unlikely its backers would have cheered McConnell for saving them from their own ideological excesses; rather, they almost certainly would have denounced him for trying to keep Americans in the dark about climate change.
“While Democratic leaders and their allies in the media claimed McConnell used the vote on GND as a ‘political ploy’ to ‘divide Democrats,’ it was they who played politics first, since the resolution itself had no hope whatsoever of being enacted, but was rather nothing more than a political stunt aimed at recruiting climate activists to support their 2020 campaigns,” Lewis said.
‘Green New Deal-Lite’
GND was so economically devastating no Democrat wished to be recorded as voting for it, says James Taylor, a senior fellow with The Heartland Institute. However, he warns some Republicans might propose their own, more moderate versions of the GND.
“The Green New Deal is such horrendous policy proposal, not a single senator, not even its Democrat sponsors, would go on record supporting it,” Taylor said. “Despite this fact, some Republicans, wishing to prove how green they are, are pushing their own ‘Green New Deal-lite’ proposals.
“Efforts to impose costly, unnecessary, and globally inconsequential restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions on the nation, even proposals less onerous than the original GND, are a betrayal of America’s working families who would have to pay for it,” Taylor said. “Evidence from past elections shows any Republicans that back carbon dioxide restrictions will likely pay for their folly in the 2020 elections.”
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.
Senate Resolution 59, Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal, February 7, 2019: https://heartland.org/publications-resources/publications/recognizing-the-duty-of-the-federal-government-to-create-a-green-new-deal
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA): https://www.markey.senate.gov/
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/